Tag Archives: little birds cardigan

Pattern: Little Birds by Ysolda Teague
My project page: Little Birds on Ravelry

Finished Object: Little Birds

In the grand tradition of knitting bloggers trying out new knitting techniques for the first time, I present to you My First Steeked Project, In Pictures.

I started knitting the Little Birds cardigan in September. For a short while it went everywhere with me, including the beach.

Little Birds on the beach. #knitting

I even took it to a work do, to cope with a sudden and intense bout of social anxiety. As I sat there, alone, Little Birds in my lap, strand of yarn in each hand, I felt like a god. Eventually I even managed to separate myself from my knitting and Have A Conversation. I was proud.

Then I noticed that I was running out of yarn. I panicked about the problem, then I ignored the problem, and eventually pulled myself together and did something about the problem. This is my usual way to deal with problems. This particular problem took three months to get from realisation -> resolution, which in comparison to how long crafting problems normally sit around being ignored is a pretty speedy turnaround.

Little Birds is coming together, into a misshapen pre-steek point.

Lots of panicking in this post so far. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last for long.

Eventually the remaining yarn turned up, and I could finish the knitting. I re-discovered the technique of steam blocking, which had an absolutely magical effect on my previously uneven, puckered colour work. I carried my floats like a boss, but you know how knitting likes to misbehave.

it is amazing, the difference that a tiny bit of steam blocking makes. nearly steek o'clock!

I read around a bit, researching my steeking technique. Probably the most useful post I found was this one from Elinor Brown, which has lots of pictures and instructions for various steeking techniques.

Supposedly, with Spindrift, you can just cut away and not worry about reinforcing the steek, but since it was my first time steeking I decided to go for a row of crochet, and take the obligatory ‘scissors on my knitting to terrify my knitter friends’ picture.

deep breaths. #steekoclock

I had poured myself a nice strong V&T in case of need, but it turned out that cutting it wasn’t a big deal at all. The crochet edge held it nicely and what was previously a misshapen lump of knitting began to look like an actual cardigan.

et voilà! #steekoclock

Then I got to add the border, tidy up the steek with some oversewing, and do some more steam blocking to finish it all off.

Steam blocking is my new favourite thing. No damp cardigan sat on the floor for weeks!

Then, buttons.


Ta-daa! All done. Steeking was actually the least stressful part of the whole project. Now the biggest problem is finding an outfit with which to wear it. But, until that point, I am 2 for 12 on my 2014 crafting goal, and feeling good.

increasing the making

Step one towards making 12 things in year is making one thing.

Little Birds is coming along nicely, but as you may remember, I’m nearly out of yarn. I put in an order, but at present my yarns are still sitting in the Shetlands, probably waiting for a plane. So it sits, shoulderless, hibernating. Roosting, even.

One sleeve... #knitting

But I can’t sit idle; I have a goal to work towards. So I found a nice quick project to get me off to a good start – Galaxy.

Galaxy is a super-cute glove pattern by Satta Designs, with beeeeaaaaads and faux cabling. When I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for one of my home-dye-jobs – a black sparkly merino sock yarn. I figured that that and some clear rocaille beads would be a striking and spacey combination, particularly appropriate as we’re currently chain-watching TNG on Netflix.

It is, indeed, a quick project; I’ve already finished one and am already to the fingers on the second one. I haven’t done much beadwork before but I do really like it – these beads are attached using a crochet hook, which means I had to spend half an hour searching for my teeniest tiniest crochet hook (1.00!) and a pot to store all the beads with holes too small to use.


I do have some quibbles with the pattern – all the fingers start in the same row, which is not how my hands are shaped. And there’s a bit too much scrolling between instructions and charts, but I suppose that’s the price of technology. But the charts are flawless and it’s a great speed-knitting pattern and augh it is beautiful.

One glove.

whoopscareless’ Galaxy Gloves on Ravelry

Have you got your New Year’s making off to a strong start? What have you got on the needles (or craft-appropriate equivalent)?

:panicflail: #2

I think I have a problem.

I told a story the other day about not being able to find the rest of my yarn.

I’m now faced with an equally terrifying prospect: I might not have had enough of it in the first place.

For probably the first time in my knitting life, I trusted a pattern. From sizing, to yarn brand, down to the exact quantity of yarn. Seven of the base colour, two of the birds, one of the leaves. Easy. Fine. None of the other project pages said anything about stingy yardage allowances.


I’ve done the body.

Little Birds, first chart done. #knitting

I’ve done a sleeve.

One sleeve... #knitting

Actually I’ve done a sleeve and a half, but I haven’t taken any pics of the second sleeve because I covered it well enough with the first one.

Half a sleeve. #knitting

But… I’m on my last 25g skein of the base colour. I have half a sleeve, the shoulders, and the not-button band to finish. I am bricking it. I really don’t think I have enough. I searched the house for all the ball bands (hurr) to make sure I had counted right and hadn’t lost a ball (hurrr) somewhere around the house. I have, haven’t, and this really is all I have left.

I know there’s nothing to do but keep knitting and deal with the situation as it comes, but it’s really nerve-wracking.

Do you have any comforting words for me? Please?


I just had a truly horrible experience.

I’d just finished the first chart on Little Birds, and was about to start on the first sleeve. ‘Hmm,’ I thought, ‘I know I only just started a new ball of yarn, but I should probably go check how much I have left.’

I couldn’t find it. I knew it was still in the mailing envelope, a rather fetching blue metallic number. I knew that there should be at least one ball of Heron and one of Laurel left in it. But I couldn’t find the damn thing anywhere. Not beside the futon. Not beside the bed. Not in my work bag (I didn’t think I’d taken them to work, but you never know). Not in the office. Not – and I don’t know why I checked, but I suppose it’s good to be certain – in the bathroom.

I spent about twenty minutes searching before I started to get teary. I wondered whether DG or I had absent-mindedly thrown it away. That’s obviously crazy talk, because that would imply either of us had done some housework. But not crazy enough to stop me gingerly examining the contents of the kitchen bin.

By this point I was pretty much tearing my hair out. I tried to convince myself to sit down and relax, maybe post an ‘I lost my :insert object:‘ tweet, which normally causes missing objects to re-appear. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t even tweet. It was too serious a situation. This was wool, man. I cannot relax or spend time sending frivolous messages while wool is missing.

Eventually, I went back in the office, and in a moment of inspired desperation, rummaged deep in a box of miscellaneous wires and adapters for random electrical devices we probably don’t own any more. And there was my bag of yarn, sitting happily on top of a file of sewing patterns I didn’t even know was missing.

Why in the hell it ended up there I may never know. But at least now I can relax, and get started on my sleeves.

Little Birds, first chart done. #knitting

WIP Wednesday: Little Birds

An easy one to start Blogtober proper.

I’m currently knitting on a version of Little Birds, by Ysolda Teague, from the Twist Collective, Fall 2008. It is the beautiful.

My getting the pattern actually has a nice story attached to it. I saw it when it was released, and I really wanted to get it, but first I was too cheap, then I was a student and too poor, and then I was unemployed and even poorer. I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I would never get it.

Then, Ravelry. One of the groups in which I’m active had a RAK thread. The Fairy Hoarmother (don’t ask) tapped me with her sparkly wand of beneficence and granted me the pattern of my choice, as a gift from another member of the forum. I cried a bit, because I’m paranoid and assume that everyone hates me, and I hate when my assumptions are challenged. But I picked Little Birds.

And here’s a nice thing: after I received this gift, I decided to pay it forward, and sent a gift via the Fairy Hoarmother… to the exact same person who’d sent Little Birds to me.

#indescribable emotion


Another fun fact about Little Birds is that the suggested yarn is Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. Well. When I was a teen, I actually visited the Shetlands. Not only that, but I was given a tour of Jamieson’s of Shetland, the mill that produces the yarn. Check it out:

April 8th, 1997: touring the Jamieson's of Shetland factory. The *exact* moment that my love of yarn was sparked. Look at me, I'm transfixed. <3

April 8th, 1997, Sandness. That’s me in the red. I’m transfixed by yarn. I’m pretty sure that’s the *exact* moment that all of this knitting madness began.

So. Hoarmothers. Shetlands. Yarn. Anything else? Well, just one more thing.

First awesome find of the pre-move #UFYH: wee Shetland birdie.

This is one of the souvenirs I brought back from the trip. You can see how it’s all piling up, right? So I bought myself the yarn as a Christmas present (direct from Jamieson’s of Shetland, obv), and I finally managed to start in September (heh). I’m really enjoying it. I took it out onto the beach at lunchtime.

Little Birds on the beach. #knitting

I took it into work to act as a social anxiety security blanket at a recent social event. There’s something about knitting that really helps me deal with the screaming heebie-jeebies, and when I’m working on something as awesome as Little Birds, it’s even better.

Almost identifiable as birds! #knitting

And here is where it’s at now. One more repeat of birds and leaves, and I’m into the arms. And one step closer to my first steek. Eek. This is going to be awesome.

Going much faster with a yarn in each hand. :snerk:

Ravelry project page for Little Birds.

Anyone else have documented proof of their first encounter with yarn?

WIP Zero

As inhabitants of the internet, you’ve surely heard of Inbox Zero, a semi-mythical state of one’s email inbox which increases productivity, reduces stress, and makes everyone around you ooh and aah in admiration.

It’s not a state I see very often; I find a blank screen a little unnerving, I do find it harder to remember things if they’re not right there, and I’m really lazy. Things pile up. It’s just the way I am, and the best intentions cannot fight my very nature.

But I can’t deny the thrill of a good clear-out. File the receipts and interesting articles and fun conversations. Archive all the notifications and marketing emails. Delete everything else. It’s even simpler with RSS feeds. Get behind? Declare RSS bankruptcy. Mark all as read. Done.

It’s not quite so easy with WIPs. It’s more of a wrench to decide that you’re never going to finish that pair of knee-high comedy Fair Isle llama socks, and undo the whole lot. And you can’t often just sit down and finish a bunch of things in one day.

However, that’s exactly what happened yesterday.

First, I cleaned up the photos of my oldest WIP and finally marked the project complete (17 months after finishing).

Switchy Tunic

Switchy Tunic on Ravelry

Then, I finished the ends on a shawl that’s been finished for ages, taunting me with all two trailing threads (five months since cast-off).

Unnecessarily Twee Spring Shawl

Unnecessarily Twee Spring Shawl on Ravelry

Then I finished the last row and cast off on my winter socks (14 months after I cast on).

Offset Cable Socks

Offset Cable Socks on Ravelry

And finally, I added the ZOMGSPARKLEBUTTONS to my new favourite cardigan in the history of ever, Oxide (only 11 months from cast-on to buttons).

Oxide Cardigan

Oxide on Ravelry

Then, all was quiet. No WIPs. My mind was free to think of other things. I was released from the torment of 12 month WIPs nagging at me to finish them.

I lasted about half an hour.

And already casting on the next one. Insatiable! #knitting